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Preparing for seed maturation: Kale sends up tall stalks when it goes to seed. These stalks can occasionally break in the wind before seeds have had time to mature, therefore, it is work considering securing stalks to a stake before this happens. Kale will flower and produce seed pods.
Harvest plants: Once the pods begin to dry on the plant, it is time to harvest. Cut the stalks at the bottom of the plant and place in a large paper bag to dry.
Dry: Hang paper bags containing stalks in a dry place for two weeks.
Extract seeds: Once the pods are dry, simply shake the bag in order to dislodge the seeds from the pods. Winnow out the chaff using a screen.
Label and Store: Seeds can last 3-5 years.
Kale does best in cold climates and temperature has a significant impact on seed production. Kale should be planted such that the plant faces its coldest temperature when it has matured. Sow in early to mid-fall, so that maturity occurs in late fall and flowers bloom in early winter.
Kale is pollinated by bees, making isolation an important concern for those interested in saving seed. For instance, kale will easily cross with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. To preserve the integrity of your kale seeds separate broccoli from other members of Brassica oleracea (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, collards, cabbage) by at least 1000 meters.
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